You’ve got to have thick skin and a tender heart to be a good writer.
It’s a hard thing to fathom, the kind of wreckage that happens when you share words and wonder if they matter. And everyone says write for an audience of one, but if that were true, you’d just pull out that tattered notebook or the journal with bic stained pages and go at it before tucking it back into your drawer. Not a single soul would know that a writer blazed inside of you, longing to come out.
But we write in a crowd. Our voices get lost so easily, our stories misunderstood, our very words neglected or celebrated, shared or shuffled back into the feed.
No, we write for a purpose. We are nothing less than brave when we gather and face a crowd who has not stopped to hear our story and we tell it anyway. We fling it wild out there and live in great hope.
You’re writing to be heard.
Maybe it’s to give your soul a voice, or your fiery mind words on the page where they have dominion and power. Maybe you can only make sense of them when they’re scribbled out hot and fast. Maybe you plod along with them, pushing them out and willing them up from your core like a miner. Maybe you write for the girl who couldn’t speak up. Not then. But now you’ve formed the syllables one letter at a time and tapped them out for the world to see.
Maybe you write for the pure joy of telling a story well.
Maybe you write for healing because the broken parts feel less shattered when they say, me too and mean it.
Maybe you write because you’ve seen a burden too heavy carried on the backs of your sisters and brothers and you only have words to lift souls. Only words to set free. And you find that words are stronger than you ever imagined.
You’re not just writing for yourself, really.
You’re writing in a crowd and sometimes you get to stop and look around and you recognize a few faces. It becomes familiar and kindred and the holiest kind of offering to share your story. Your life.
If words are as powerful as we say, and truth has always been carried on their wings, then we are gentle burdened warriors. We are never alone in our words, the whole earth sings with the chorus of a thousand tongues.
You push against the hard words of doubt and wonder and grace, the hardest of them all. You listen to the stories of all the other voices and you learn to hear then notes that sound like home and you learn to recognize the ones that sound like family and you learn to reach out to the ones that sound foreign to your ear. Your whole world is cracked wide from listening to stories.
You ask God the hard questions. You ask him in words written down. They make the most beautiful prayers. They are your battle song and your mourning hymn. They are the solace where your pen slants and you find answers. You are not writing alone. You are gathered in a crowd of witnesses beholding ink-stained truth.
On Fridays we write. And sometimes it goes all over the place and we let it. We get messy and real and sometimes we cry and sometimes we laugh but we get it done week after week. We show up and write free. Five minutes on one prompt: this week is : Crowd. We silence the critic and the audience, we make peace with our mistakes and our word tense that goes in and out when we type fast. We don’t overthink or edit or make a fuss. We just believe words spilled are worth something even if they come out like madness. Join us? We’re at Lisa Jo’s, and we need your story.